• Google Slaps Exact Match Domains in Sept 28th Update

    02 Oct
    Written by jpjanze
    Categorized in:
    Matt Cutts Tweet about EMD update

    Matt Cutts announced on Twitter a new algorithm update targeting exact match domains launched on Sept 28,2012. Google is targeting what they deem to be 'low quality exact match domains"

    From my personal experience, I don't understand the filter they are using, it doesn't really seem to make sense? We have been wanting an update like this from Google for quite a while now - there is nothing quite as annoying as having a crappy MFA EMD site rank at the top of the SERPS while a really good quality professional website languishes at the top of page two - but so far are a little underwhelmed by the result. Granted this is based on only a cursory look at the results (we don't spend a tonne of time on EMD's) but from what I have been reading online, there are many many website owners that are just as confused.

    "I checked my stats this morning and visitor numbers have plummeted. My domain name has no bearing on my keywords, and I do not have a spammy website. I've maintained it for about 7 or 8 years, and it's always done well. I keep it up-to-date, and have designed and written it myself. I have great natural backlinks (many one-way), and have never paid for traffic. Having checked there was no downtime, I saw this thread and have seen they have rolled some updates."

    "Forgot to add to my previous post that a really spammy version of one of my sites is ranking much better on page 1 today! It's a site we were using for test purposes and threw a load of crap at it. So they killed my really good site but have promoted my really bad, very spammy links, site in place of it. Go figure."

    "I don't see any change in my niche, sites with exact or partial matches are right there. What qualifies as low quality exact matches?"

    "We have seven sites in a specific niche but they are all partial match domains. Four have been hit by this update. The other three, for now, appear to be ok. All are UK hosted websites, running Wordpress. All on same server and all are running Adsense. They all share the same Adsense account….The only thing I can think that has triggered these four sites to get hit is the lack of link diversity. These are the sites have spent all year getting decent links for but the link text variation is low. The three sites which so far seem ok have had less link work done to them and that is why perhaps they will be ok. Therefore, my initial observation regarding what Matt says are "low quality" sites are those where the backlinks mostly contain the same text. By the way, all of our sites have 100% unique well written content and are updated frequently. They are good sites and we have been very proud of them. "

    Anyone else been affected by this update? I am curious to hear your experience and what you plan to do to get past it. Also love to hear if you DID manage to get past it.

    Matt Cutts EMD 2
  • Google to proactively enforce unique Sitelink policy for Adwords

    29 Sep
    Written by jpjanze
    Categorized in:

    I wonder how many people out there actually use Sitelinks in their Google Adwords campaign, I don't know the answer, but I can tell you that they are crazy not to. By pretty much any measure I have run across and my own experience, Adding appropriate sitelinks to a google adwords campaign can have a dramatically positive impact on click through rate.

    For those of you who are unfamiliar with Adwords Sitelinks, they aren't new - they have been around since late 2009. They are links to particular pages of your site that you can add to an Adwords campaign so that they show up directly underneath your Ad - kind of like site links in organic listings. The big difference is that you get to decide what the links are and where the links are pointed to on your website. According to Google Adwords Help on the topic "The sitelinks ad extension lets you show links to pages from your website, in addition to the main landing page, beneath the text of your ads."

    It is a pretty cool feature and Google will show up to six site links attached to any particular Ad, all at no extra cost (actual number of site links displayed will depend on the browser and form factor (desktop/tablet/mobile)

    By most studies, Adwords site links can increase CTR by 30% with the added benefit of having your ad take up more real estate in the search listings (making your competitors ads or organic results farther down the page. It is also a really great format for users to get an idea of what your site is about before they even click through to it.

    So what is this new change that Google just announced? Well, Google's policy for Adwords sitelinks is that each link must link to a different landing page and in the past they either weren't enforcing or weren't watching and some Adwords advertisers were simply creating a bunch of sitelinks that with different words that all pointed to the same page (providing a negative user experience).

    According to Google "Our existing policy has required each sitelink in a campaign to link to a different landing page. That means a user would have a meaningfully different experience on the landing page from each sitelink. Recently, though, we've noticed an increase in the number of sitelinks created with the same landing page URLs or identical content. So starting today, we are beginning more proactive enforcement of our policy."

    I don't think this will affect any of the campaigns that we run for clients because we are pretty careful in the first place, but I am pretty sure some people will not figure it out right away! How about you? Think you will start using Sitelinks? Anyone had their Ads penalized for improper sitelinks?

  • Seven is the loneliest Number?

    23 Aug
    Written by jpjanze
    Categorized in:

    The recent news spanning the SEOsphere these days is from Google's recent move to reduce the number of search results on page one for SOME queries from ten results to only seven. It may not sound like much but that is a 30% drop in the number of pages that can rank on page one. And the preliminary research so far seems to indicate that it is affecting close to 20% of searches (See SEOMoz article by Dr. Pete and Wordstream analysis by Larry Kim for more details)

    How does this affect Google SERPs?

    In fact, Dr. Pete's analysis of the top ten SERPs for 1,000 Searches showed that almost 20% were showing only seven results. It is interesting that searching from here in Vancouver, Canada, I am NOT seeing the same degree of impact which suggests that it has not been universally rolled out yet. What I am able to replicate is that for any BRANDED search (searching for Outcome3 for example which is clearly a 'brand' search returns only seven search results).

    According to the admittedly limited research over at WordStream, Larry Kim discovered that

    • 100% of the organic searches I looked at that contained sitelinks also had the new Google SERP with 7 or fewer organic listings.
    • 100% of the organic searches I looked at that did not contain sitelinks had the usual 10 organic listings.


    Larry goes on to report that he was even seeing Searches with only 5 (yes five) results on page one! That is a 50% decline in the number of results on page one.

    The combined affects of a reduction in results for branded terms ('Navigational' terms as Wordstream and others refer to them) along with the promotion of the importance of Brand to search results overall is means that the first page results for these type of searches are pretty homogenous - just look at the Outcome3 example in this post - all results barring one are controlled by me. This is GREAT from the brand owners perspective and arguably from the web searchers perspective as well. Logically, in most cases, when someone types in a brand name, it is because they want to go to the brand controlled site and never go past the first few results to do so.

    Yes (as many argue) this is not always the case - perhaps I am doing comparative research, perhaps I am looking for independent reviews etc. but I think in most cases, the searcher will type in a more modified search than simply a brand/navigational search (ie "Outcome3 seo review" to find those comparitive or informational type search results for which Google is still returning 10 SERPS.

    What does this mean to website owners and SEOs?

    Well, it means that trying to compete for a page one listing for Brand like search phrases is now extremely difficult if not impossible (for all but the least competitive brand searches). If you were the type to be skeptical of a for profit corporation, one might be forgiven for thinking that Google had a profit motive for reducing the number of search results and making it near impossible to rank for branded,highly commercial terms...hmm, let me see, I can no longer rank organically for the term 'adwords', so now I am going to have to move to PAID search to get traffic ???

    What do you think? 7 results instead of 10 - a continued journey to improve search results? or a push for more revenue from Adwords?
    As most SEOs know, even a first page #10 ranking far outstrips the traffic that results from a second page listing. I know

    Google Seven Serps
  • Social networks and Blogs - Still Tops

    15 May
    Written by jpjanze
    Categorized in:
    Nielson Social Media Research Q3 2011

    Neilson's Social Media Report is still among the most current comprehensive research out there. In their Social Media Report: Q3 2011 Nielson dug deep into the social media world and its denizens to uncover some truly interesting statistics. A little while ago we posted some of their research about Social Media Usage Statistics and this post is about where people spend their time online.

    While Online Gaming plays a huge part of our online universe (9.8%), it pales compared to the time spent on Blogs and Social Media (22.5%). I think the most interesting statistic is that according to this research, we only spend 2.6% of our online time reading news and only 4% using Search (think how profitable Search is for Google and yet it represents such a small portion of our time online.

    It is no wonder that social networks like Facebook are garnering such astronomical valuations) and a whopping 35% on 'other' things that consume less then 2% each (it is a huge category with more than 40 items in it.

  • Social Media Users are ACTIVE! (really active!)

    03 Feb
    Written by jpjanze
    Social Media Report Q3 2011 - Nielson
    I love these reports and infographics that come out of the big analyst organizations - in many cases, if it weren't for them we wouldn't know as much as we do about the profiles, habits, behaviours etc of things online. In their recent Social Media Report: Q3 2011Nielson dug deep into the social media world and its denizens to uncover some truly staggering statistics that I will share with you over the coming weeks. The first one is just a general overview of the average social media user and how their online and offline worlds relate - very interesting and contrary to a somewhat common belief that social media users are being sheltered from the 'real world'. According to Nielson's research, social media users are highly social, both online and off. For all you business out there, even more reason to build your brand! 53% of active social networkers follow a brand! (and for you single people out there, social media users are 45% more likely to go on a date!)

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